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THE PORT FOLIO,
NEW SERIES, BY OLIVER OLDSCHOOL, ESQ.
Various i that the mind Of desultory man, studious of change,
Vol. m. MAY, 1810. No. 5.
BIOGRAPHY—FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Commodore Edward Preble was born August 15, 1761, in that part of Falmouth in Casco bay which is now Portland in the state of Massachusetts. His father was the honourable Jedidiah Preble, who was a brigadier-general under the governmentofthe Massachusetts bay; and after the revolutionary war began, a member of the council and senate. He died in the year 1783, aged 77.
Edward Preble from early childhood discovered a strong disposition for hazards and adventures, and a firm, resolute, and persevering temper. Possessing an athletic and active frame, he delighted in exertion, and particularly in sporting with a gun, in which he displayed superior skill. His constitution, naturally robust, was corroborated by this athletic exercise*
"The Editor anxiously hopes that the candid and accomplished scholar, and the generous and partial friend, who has so admirably acquitted himself in recording the exploits of the gallant Preble, will forgive a brother for the exercise of a brother's privilege. With all the diffidence of virgin modesty, we have ventured, in the present instance, under the sanction of a liberal per. mission, to vary our author's phrase. The Biographer is not ignorant of the Editor's partiality to the Roman idiom; and, for the choice of one word, we VPL. HI.. \ . . \.Tf
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His father, with a view to a college education and liberal profession for his son Edward, placed him, at a suitable age, at Dummer academy, Newbury, then under the care of the late Mr. Samuel Moody, a celebrated teacher. Here he was employed in Latin and other studies, and though the bias of his nature to action and enterprise proved an overmatch for the attractions of literature and sedentary occupation, his time at school yielded valuable fruit. The correctness and propriety of expression in his letters and orders, the quality and cast of his conversation, and the general resources of his mind showed him indebted to early culture as well as to the opportunities he enjoyed from much intercourse with the world and his standing in society. He doubtless with others experienced the benefit of having a preceptor who made it his care and gratification to discover and fan the spark of honourable ambition in the minds of his pupils. He was particularly attentive to their characteristic individual traits; and fond of viewing them on the most favourable and indulgent side. He was struck with the marks of a fearless invincible spirit in Preble; and though aware of its disadvantages and hazards to its possessor, was disposed in this instance, accompanied as it was with ingenuous feelings and a disdain of all baseness, to regard it as a prognostic of good. A single anecdote in illustration we venture to record, trusting that none of our readers, young or old, will receive it in ill part, or think it capable of any evil use. The good preceptor, with a dear love for his pupils, was liable sometimes to gusts of passion, portentous in appearance, though commonly harmless in effect. On one occasion, our hero in an encounter with a schoolfellow, had given a blow, which covered his face with blood. On the boy presenting himself in this
appeal to the good taste of Mr. Hume, who, by the by, was rather more addicted to the use of the Gallic, than of the Latin construction. In the initial ehapterofhis History of England, the first and fairest of his productions, when describing the despotism of the druids over the consciences of the abject populace, he concludes the paragraph in the following manner: "Thus the bands of government, which were naturally loose among a rude and turbulent people, were happily corroborated by the terrors of Superstition." Moreover; the word occurs repeatedly in the Ramblers; and who will dare to deny the authority of doctor Johnson!
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plight in school, and announcing Preble as the author of his misfortune, the master's ire was raised to a tempest—seizing the fireshovel, he sprung towards the offender, and aimed a blow at his head; which, however, he took care should just escape on one side of his mark and fall on the desk. He repeated the motion, bringing down his deadly weapon on the other side with the utmost violence. The boy never changed his attitude or countenance, sitting perfectly erect and looking calmly at the assailant. The latter, from being pale and quivering with rage became instantly composed, and turning away exclaimed "that fellow will make a general." Against the wishes and hopes of his father Edward persisted in that predilection for the sea which he had always shown; and leaving school after two or three years, he entered on board a ship. His first voyage was to Europe in a letter of marque, captain Frend. On their return, they had a severe time on the coast through head winds and extreme cold. The young sailor was conspicuous for his activity and usefulness in this trying exigence.
About the year 1779 he became midshipman in the state ship Protector, 26 guns, commanded by that brave officer, John Forster Williams, who has always spoken with emphasis of the courage and good conduct of Mr. Preble, while in his ship.
On the first cruise of the Protector, she engaged off Newfoundland, the letter of marque Admiral Duff of 36 guns. It was a short but hard fought action. The vessels were constantly very near and much of the time along side, so that balls were thrown from one to the other by hand. The Duff struck, but taking fire about the same time, she in a few minutes blew up. Between thirty and forty of her people were saved and taken on board the Protector, where a malignant fever soon spread and carried off two thirds of captain Williams's crew. He returned to an eastern port, and landing his prisoners and recruiting his men sailed on a second cruise. Falling in with a British sloop of war and frigate, the Protector was captured. The principal officers were taken to England, but Preble, by the interest of a friend of his father, colonel William Tyng, obtained his release at New-York and returned to his friends.
He then entered as first lieutenant on board the sloop of war Winthrop, captain George Little, who had been captain Williams's second in command in the Protector, had scaled the walls of his pri